Talk about a journalist's worst nightmare: this morning, Kathie Lee Gifford of the 857th hour of The Today Show had what we (in the biz!) would call a little bit of a "woopsie" when she failed to know--and the show's researchers failed to mention--that guest Martin Short's wife had died two years prior. Um, uh-oh!
Short was on the show to promote his work in the upcoming Madagascar 3. After the discussion turned to his children, Gifford went on to praise the marriage of Short and his late wife, Nancy Goldman, who passed from ovarian cancer in August of 2010.
"And he and Nancy have one of the greatest marriage of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?" Gifford asked. Short responded with a "We...uh...married 36 years" before Gifford asked "But you are still, like, in love?" "Madly in love, madly in love," Short replied. The actor/comedian took the moment in stride. After the segment, Gifford apologized on screen. Check out the whole segment below (the gaffe occurs at the 3:30 mark).
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[Image via Getty]
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Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
This morning, on the fourth hour of the Today Show, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford said that Whitney Cummings and her new show were the things that were going to ride in and save the network. I’m thinking those statements had something to do with the colorful cocktails in their hands because after watching the pilot episode of Whitney, I can resolutely say there’s no way it’s strong enough to carry an entire network, especially when the peacock has so many other better and more promising shows (Up All Night, Parks and Rec, The Office, 30 Rock – Whitney can’t compare). So what’s the problem? Well, there are a few.
First off, I really want to like Whitney. She’s got the down-to-earth girl attitude, she’s not about getting all dolled up all the time or perpetuating some unrealistic expectation of how a woman should behave. This notion is refreshing, it’s just too bad the show doesn’t deliver on that idea. Whitney is in a long-term relationship her boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia) who she lives with. They’re extremely comfortable and incredibly in love, but the constant barrage of societal pressures about how their relationship should progress or what their sex life should be like starts to get to her. She tries to spice things up with a nurse outfit and role-playing, but her little stunt lands her man in the hospital. She’s not allowed back because she’s only his girlfriend and the question of marriage comes up – it would solve everything in this situation. Too bad that question is answered by the time the tag hits.
Her friends consist of Lily and Neal (Zoe Lister-Jones and Maulik Pancholy), a new couple who can’t keep their hands off each other; the horndog cop Mark (Dan O’Brien) and a bitter, drug-addled divorcee named Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn). These are not only the exact cohorts we’d expect for a premise like this, but not a single one of them is likeable. They’re all obnoxious and not as a result of their most recent relationship status changes; their issues are inherent. It’s a bit of a bummer, since Lister-Jones is such a solid presence in indie films, but when she steps foot on Whitney, she loses her charm.
Finally, even if those characters worked and the pilot didn’t resolutely answer the only question it answered, the show would still be lacking a little something. Cummings has made a decent living as a stand-up comedian and that’s obvious throughout the show. Many scenes feel much like a stand-up routine instead of a conversation or an actual event. It’s not that there isn’t something funny about them, but in a sitcom setting we need more than just a good joke, we need it to fit in the story, be believable and still make us laugh. Whitney just doesn’t seem to accomplish that, and often it feels like the characters are explaining the situation just a little too much. This isn’t the set-up for your bit about anniversary sex, Whitney. Show us, don’t tell us.
There was one scene in the whole episode that gives me hope. Whitney gets a nurse costume for her anniversary with Alex and the whole awkward/sexy scene was charming and enjoyable. Whitney’s delivery wasn’t as stale as it is in the rest of the series and D’Elia’s dumb guy schtick is pretty cute and likable. We also get a spot of Jane Kaczermarek as Whitney’s mom, and despite the boring dialogue, the actress makes it work.
There are areas of the sitcom that work, but there’s so much that doesn’t. If the writers don’t adjust their supporting characters to be more likeable and Whitney doesn’t loosen up, I don’t see this series making it for very long. Then again, NBC needs a hit, so maybe shying away from the critically-acclaimed single-camera comedies for a typical, cute, multi-camera sitcom with a live studio audience is just what the doctor (Quinn medicine woman?) ordered. It’s hard to gauge what the American public will do, but Whitney sure doesn’t get my vote on a night when some of the best shows on television are competing for our viewership.
CNN CAUGHT IN ANOTHER TAILWIND?
Rekindling memories of CNN's Operation Tailwind fiasco three years ago, the CIA has issued a statement saying that Kenneth Bucchi, who was identified as a former CIA agent by the cable network during two appearances on Monday, never worked for the agency in any capacity and that his comments on the air about being involved in CIA activities involving Columbia drug lords were "utter nonsense" and "complete fiction." Reporting on the apparent hoax, the Washington Post said Thursday that Bucchi had been discharged from the Air Force after being labeled as delusional and quoted Bucchi as saying that he had been "framed" by the Air Force during his ouster. Bucchi also reportedly acknowledged that he could not prove that he had worked for the CIA but did concede that he had never been paid by the agency. A CNN anchor read a statement by the CIA about the matter Wednesday but did not retract the story or apologize, the Post said.
WHICH SURVIVOR WILL BE THE WEAKEST LINK?
CBS announced plans Wednesday to milk yet another Survivor episode from its current Outback series for the May sweeps. The one-hour show, set to air 8 p.m. May 10, will follow the 16 contestants as they return home and, from 8:30-9 p.m.will go head-to-head against a half-hour special episode of The Missing Link, which will be featuring several of the original Survivor contestants struggling to withstand the verbal scaldings of host Anne Robinson. Meanwhile, Pax TV announced Wednesday that beginning June 1 it will air repeats of Weakest Link on Fridays, just days after the original telecast on NBC on Mondays.
"TODAY"'S HIT AND RUN
Seeming to invite criticism for emulating the very thing it was scrutinizing, NBC's The Today Show on Wednesday showed a video six times of a 16-year-old boy being hit by a car as he was allegedly attempting to mimic a stunt on the MTV showJackass. The Independence, Kan., teenager suffered numerous injuries including a broken leg. During the broadcast, Garry Edmonson, the local D.A., said that his office was considering filing charges against MTV. "Certainly they are morally culpable," he remarked. For its part, MTV said that it was "incredibly upsetting" to learn of such incidents but that MTV repeatedly has warned viewers not to attempt the dangerous stunts depicted on the show. It also noted that it had never shown a stunt on Jackass similar to the one involving the injured Kentucky boy.
"NEW YORK TIMES" PUTS TV ON HOLD
Representing a blow to the New York Times' ambition to become a force in nightly television news, the paper has been forced to shelve plans to produce an 11:00 p.m. PBS newscast, published reports said Thursday. According to the reports, the newscast, which was to have been called National Edition, has been unable to find $12 million in corporate underwriting to launch the telecast, which was to have been produced with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions.
"60 MINUTES" CHIEF NOW FAVORS TELEVISED EXECUTION
60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt, who once voiced opposition to the televising of executions, now says he has changed his mind and is in favor of televising the May 16 execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. "You put a guy on a gurney and stick a needle in his arm. People watch that on E.R. every week," Hewitt remarked in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "What's the big deal? He goes to sleep and doesn't wake up. It doesn't seem so terrible to me." Reminded that in 1997 he said of televising McVeigh's execution, "That hungry for ratings, I'm not. ... It's in terrible taste," Hewitt replied, "I'm mush. I change on a lot of things." 60 Minutes is planning to repeat Ed Bradley's March 2000 interview with McVeigh, the only television interview with him.
WILL ACTRESS-ANCHOR MAKE IT AT CNN?
An Albuquerque, NM TV news director has sniffed at Wednesday's report that former NYPD Blue costar Andrea Thompson had been hired as an anchor and reporter for the CNN Headline News channel. Chris Berg, who heads the news department at KOB-TV, suggested that Thompson, who has worked at rival KRQE since leaving Blue, posed no competition. "I think working in Albuquerque is out of her league," he told the Albuquerque Journal. "Yes, I think she has improved as a news reporter, but she's still not good enough to work at our station." Readers of the Journal seemed to agree. In a poll conducted on the newspaper's Web site, 64 percent of the respondents answered "No" to the question, "Is KRQE-TV reporter/former NYPD Blue actress Andrea Thompson ready for CNN?"
KATHIE LEE SAYS SHE'S HAD TALKS ABOUT REPLACING ROSIE
Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday confirmed that she had had "preliminary talks" about replacing Rosie O'Donnell on Donnell's syndicated talk show beginning next June. During a conference call, Gifford said that the talks were "nothing serious, and I don't know. ... To commit to something longterm, I would be throwing myself right back in that same frying pan."
CALLS MOUNT FOR BBC CHIEF TO STEP DOWN
Word that BBC Chairman Christopher Bland has been appointed chairman of British Telecom has sparked demands that Bland relinquish his job at the publicly funded broadcasting corporation. Norman Baker, a spokesman for the Liberal Democratic party, told Britain's Guardian newspaper: "Sir Christopher Bland can't possibly do two jobs at once. He cannot give the BBC his full attention if he believes the job is that part-time. ... There is a clear conflict of interest."
NO MOVIES, NO INTERVIEWS?
If an actors' strike materializes this year, not only will TV and film studios be hard hit, but so will entertainment publications and TV shows whose stock-in-trade is running interviews with celebrities who are plugging their latest projects, the Los Angeles Times observed Thursday. Entertainment attorney Tom Hansen told the newspaper that despite actors' contractual obligations to studios to promote their films or television shows, "the union collective bargaining agreement will always trump the individual actor's agreement. ... If the guild says you cannot render publicity services, you will not be in violation of your contract."
MGM: BIG HITS, BUT BIG LOSSES
Despite back-to-back hits with Hannibal and Heartbreakers, MGM on Wednesday reported a net loss of $399.8 million in the first quarter. It attributed the result to accounting rules changes, noting that operating income (EBITDA) soared to $12.6 million from $5.2 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, MGM Chairman and CEO Alex Yemenidjian commented, "MGM's first-quarter performance was a great start to what promises to be another strong year in 2001." The studio plans to release 20 films this year versus seven in 2000.
TRADE PAPER REPORTER QUITS AFTER HIS STORY IS QUASHED
Entertainment labor and legal reporter David Robb has quit the Hollywood Reporter after the trade paper's publisher, Robert Dowling, blocked a story that he had written concerning Reporter gossip columnist George Christy, the online media magazine Inside reported Wednesday. The story reportedly concerned an investigation by the Screen Actors Guild to determine whether Christy actually worked in numerous films and TV shows for which he had received acting credits since 1985. Those credits, Inside maintained, allowed Christy to qualify for benefits under the guild's health and pension plan. According to Inside, Dowling spiked the story over the objection of editor Anita Busch. It quoted Robb as saying that Dowling "reassigned" the story to another reporter. None of the principals in the dispute except Robb responded to Inside's requests for comment.
COLUMNIST ATTESTS "TOWN & COUNTRY" IS AS BAD AS FEARED
Syndicated columnist Liz Smith has confirmed many movie writers' speculation that Town and Country, the costly and long-delayed comedy starring Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Garry Shandling, is a disaster. Saying that she had seen the film this week -- most critics viewed it Wednesday night -- Smith concludes that "it is one of the most chaotic and puerile movies ever made, full of tasteless adultery and some downright offensive vulgarity." As for the top-flight cast, Smith remarks: "It is awful to see talented stars without a clue as to who they are supposed to be portraying or what they are supposed to be doing." (A digest of other reviews of the movie will be included in tomorrow's edition.)
BUSH WATCHING BOWDLERIZED VERSIONS OF MOVIES
President George W. Bush has ordered that scenes of graphic sex and violence be cut from movies shown on Air Force One flights, the British Web site Ananova reported Thursday, citing reporters traveling with the president. It was not clear from the report who was assigned to the bowdlerization of the films, nor what guidelines for cuts had been set. Ananova observed that Bill Clinton always ran the uncut versions of films on the presidential plane and at the White House, even those "that Mr. Clinton regularly condemned when he was talking up family values."
Suddenly Calvin Klein model; suddenly TV star; suddenly engaged, again. Brooke Shields of erstwhile "Suddenly Susan" fame became engaged to boyfriend Chris Henchy over the weekend while vacationing in Mexico, the actress’s publicist has confirmed.
No details of the romantic coup were otherwise available, save from the facts that Henchy proposed on a Saturday night.
Henchy, 37, was a producer on the short-lived NBC series "Battery Park." Shields, 35, whose impressive resume includes being the national jail-bait in those Calvin Klein ads and "The Blue Lagoon" as a teenager and the star of NBC’s "Suddenly Susan" as a grown-up, was once married to tennis bad boy Andre Agassi. That marriage ended in April 1999.
Henchy and Shields have been seeing each other since the fall.
THE VIP TREATMENT: A group of New Jersey teenagers apparently came to Pamela Anderson’s rescue after the ex-"Bay Watch" actress left her debit card at an ATM machine in a Malibu, Calif. mall Sunday morning, without so much as closing out the transaction.
Shocked to discover who the card belonged to, the good Samaritans swiftly returned the plastic to its rightful owner and was rewarded handsomely – in this case, a photo op with the "VIP" bombshell herself.
Rosie O'Donnell BYE, BYE ROSIE?: The New York Daily News reports today that CBS is allegedly looking for a new host to replace Rosie O’Donnell on the Tony Awards show. According to the tab, the network is reportedly peeved over O’Donnell’s biased preference in using her friends -- such as musical director John McDaniel, Susan Lucci and Kathie Lee Gifford -- for the show
Our inquiries to the network were not returned. O'Donnell served as Tony Awards’ emcee for three years, in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
WHEN ROMAN FALLS: Exiled auteur Roman Polanski is being sued by Artisan Entertainment for making run with more than $1 million plus from his last film, "The Ninth Gate."
The complaint, filed July 11 in a Los Angeles District Court, claims that Polanski and his production company have kept the French value-added tax refunds instead of turning the dough over to Artisan.